Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day... how we did

Well, Earth Day has come and gone - and I didn't even blog on it!  Bad green blogger, me!  Even though I wasn't writing, I thought I'd share what we did - and what we are still doing.  

If you go back to Earth Hour last month we did turn off all the lights, lit some candles and just sat back and relaxed.  Friends came over and they joined us.  (and they never even gave me 'the look' when they arrived to the lights all off)

Then leading up to Earth Day, I sadly missed the City of Surrey's fantastic shindig.  They put on a great celebration, with a fish release, story time, music, demonstrations and more.  But I missed it because I was doing something green.  I was at the kidswap!  I've blogged about these before, but really, a kids only swapmeet is an amazing thing.  It's a whole economy in itself.  I arrived with my bins of stuff, set up my table and since the doors hadn't opened to the public, proceeded to check out everyone else's stuff.  My kids are now the proud owners of a tool bench and a hungry hungry hippo game that cost me a fraction of retail.  Nanna bought a table and chair set for her place (among other things, lol). 

I think this is a fantastic way to reuse stuff.  I sold a lot, people got great deals, things stayed out of the landfill, and lots and lots of stuff is getting reused - sometimes over and over as people continue to do this as their children outgrow things.  With all the recalls, thrift stores are very hesitant to take toys and kids items, but armed with knowledge (gleaned from the Health Canada website - you can go to to search recalls and most countries have their own information posted by their respective agencies) about recalls and what is safe, what needs new parts, etc. a buyer at these swapmeets can do very well for themselves.   For example - if you know that a crib has a recall but you know that the company has a fix to order - you can buy the item second hand for much much less than retail and then order the parts before you use it.  You end up with great savings and a safe item.    And many recalls are to alert consumers to the 'fix' you need to get so the item is safe.  By the same token, you can search what cannot be fixed and know to avoid it - and even educate the seller so they can return it.

I just love second hand shopping - it gives everything a second chance! 

After the swapmeet, I posted some stuff on craigslist, gave away a few things on fullcircles and donated a big box of clothing and accessories for baby to a local pregnancy crisis centre.  (Pregnancy Options in Surrey, BC)   I like that they give things to the people who need them.  If you are interested in something like this, contact your local Pregnancy Options place and see what they can use.  Often space is very limited so it's good to see what they can use, or let them find someone who can use what you have if it's bigger.  And remember, it's nice for babies to have nice things - I've always given a mix of play clothes and dressier clothes, and never things that are too worn. I like to think that donations would be what I'd want, too.

I have also been working on my kitchen.  I really wanted a new set of canisters and breadbox, but have decided to paint the ones I have.  After all, they are the size and style I want, just not the colour anymore.  I'll take pictures and share the result. (assuming I do a good job!)  This keeps me from buying more stuff - reusing is definitely a better option.

We started to put a little 'green' into our lives this past Sunday.  My preschooler and I planted potatoes and onions, fixed up our pots outside (where I transplanted a few things from the garden I'm going to move) and are contemplating the completion of the new veggie bed.  He's getting his own little plot in there.  I thought he'd love a place to grow his Bean and maybe a few friends for Bean.

Next on the list is to move a what feels like a ton of dirt into our new veggie bed, and to clean out the pots for planting tomatoes and peppers in.    (and dig up the weeds in the front and put in rock - no more weeding! and hey, isn't rock xeriscaping at it's best?  low to no maintenance? and even better if I can get it for free if someone else local is pulling it from their landscaping!)

I'm looking to see how to reuse things.  I still have a pile of bricks at the side of my house.  I picked up large ceramic pot saucers on clearance (they were seconds) and I think I'll put the bricks together to make a stand to use them as birdbaths.  Functional and reusing something I had no use for.  

So far that's what we've been up to.  I'm still clearing the garage and giving away stuff like crazy.  I'm thinking that this week we'll be done in there and we can finally organize what we are keeping.  It's spring and I'm in the mood to let go - a popular thing for many. It's the season for lightening up.  

What are you doing around your home?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sew Wonderful - Re-usable Napkins!

I got busy tonight and sewed up a window topper for my kitchen. Since I had extra fabric, and had some other red fabric to use up, I also made napkins.   If you can sew a straight line (or a sorta straight line) and wield an iron, you can make these pretty easily.  Just cut your squares, iron over the seams (twice for a clean look) and stitch in place.  Voila!  Re-Usable Napkins!   Almost like magic!

It's a great idea - if you sew, go through your stash and use up bits and pieces.  Napkins don't have to match, after all, they're for cleaning up, right?  Or pop on down the fabric store and pick up something fun and make a batch.  A basket of these will mean you don't have to buy paper napkins.  And if you just toss them into the wash with your towels, they don't take any extra energy to keep clean.

If you can't sew, consider investing in some cloth napkins - or ask a friend who sews to help you out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Do you ever wish there were more hours in the day? I sure do – it’s SPRING and I long to be outside up to my elbows in dirt! For my birthday this year, my husband has promised me a raised veggie bed along our fence. Our current veggie patch doesn’t get as much sun as the fence area, so this way I can mix around what I plant depending on what it needs! I see lettuce (pretty ones!) and sunflowers (lovely and tall with BIG seed heads) peas, beans, more raspberries and strawberries, carrots, radishes and more in there. I plan to make it pretty.

In my old veggie patch, I’ll leave the rhubarb and the raspberries currently there, as well as my strawberries. I want to add in potatoes, onions and squash – maybe a pumpkin, too.

My dog loves squash/pumpkin plants so in order to get them to grow, they need to be behind the fence I have around that garden.

It was pretty cool here today, but I know it’s warming – the daffodils are nearly done, the tulips are getting ready for me and so much is greening out! I plan on getting out there this weekend as the weather is supposed to be somewhat nice for part of it. Lots of cleanup to do, a compost to feed (and turn!) and planning of how we’ll arrange things over this coming year.

Gardening is about as green as I can get. I use organic fertilizer and try to plant smart. Weeds go the old fashioned way – we dig ‘em out! (not the funnest part, unless you are in a bad mood – then ripping out weeds can be therapeutic!)

Do you have a vision for your garden? Pots on the patio? Herbs on the windowsill?